Firewise landscape.

Firewise Landscapes

Firewise Landscape Maintenance

Once you have established your Firewise landscape, it will need regular maintenance. Keep your Firewise landscape effective by regular pruning, mowing, raking, and removal of diseased, dying, or dead materials. Monitor your landscape for insects and disease, and control as necessary.

Well-watered turf is very fire resistant.

Zone 1—Clean and Green

This is where you will spend most of your time maintaining your Firewise landscape. Regular sweeping and raking will keep walkways, patios and planting beds free from flammable debris. Maintain plant materials by removing spent flower heads and other dead or dying foliage several times throughout the growing season.

In addition to this, make sure you:

  • Frequently remove needles and other debris from roofs and gutters of all structures.
  • Remove any tree limbs closer than 15-feet to chimneys and power lines, as well as any that touch a structure.
  • Don’t allow wind-blown plant litter to accumulate in corners or at the foundation of the house. Burning embers may collect in the same places and ignite your home.
  • Maintain irrigation systems and access to emergency water supplies.

Maintain Zone 2 with regular pruning.

Zone 2—Pruned and Groomed

Zone 2 needs maintenance too. Well-maintained turf is very fire resistive. If possible, water your lawn throughout the summer. If you cannot keep turf green, keep it trimmed low, especially close to structures.

Maintain trees and woody shrubs by pruning dead and dying branches and thinning to keep space between plants. A good rule of thumb is to leave space equal to two times the plant's' mature height. Pay particular attention to areas where ladder fuel configurations may be developing and take action to disrupt this pattern.

Maintain adequate spacing between trees and shrubs in Zone 3.

Zone 3—Native Vegetation

Zone 3 needs the least amount of attention during the growing season, but a good maintenance plan will include pruning trees and ensuring that the spacing between trees and woody shrubs is maintained at a 10- by 10-foot or 12- by 12-foot spacing.

Controlling unwanted vegetation and noxious weeds is vitally important to decreasing your landscape's ignition potential. This area will probably not receive supplemental irrigation during the growing season and weeds and grasses can become highly flammable.

  • Prune unwanted woody shrubs. Midsummer is the best time to do this. Many native Idaho shrubs re-sprout vigorously, so repeated trimming is usually necessary.
  • Use livestock, such as sheep or goats, to keep brush low. Controlled grazing should be done in late spring or early summer to minimize soil impacts. Later grazing also reduces plants’ ability to regenerate because of drier soils.
  • Apply registered herbicides, available in home and garden stores. Carefully read and follow all label instructions.
  • Use biological agents to control some noxious weeds. Visit the Bureau of Land Management/Idaho State Department of Agriculture Biological Control Program to learn more.

Contact Us

208.310.7472

ivy@idahofirewise.org

Our Partners

 Bureau of Land Management   Idaho Department of Lands Idaho Fire Chiefs Association Idaho Office of Emergency Services  Idaho Project Learning TreeIdaho Parks and Recreation  Mid-Snake RC&D Nez Perce Tribe Forestry and Fire  University of Idaho Extension Forestry USDA Forest Service  Idaho Emergency Management Association (IEMA)